Tel Aviv-Yafo (Hebrew תל אביב-יפו; Arabic تل ابيب-يافا Tal Abīb-Yāfā) is an Israeli city on the coast of the Mediterranean sea. Tel-Aviv is also part of a major metropolitan area in Israel, known as Gush Dan ("Dan Bloc").
For a period of 8 months (May through December 1948) during Arab blockade of Jerusalem it also served as the temporary de facto capital of Israel. Though Israel subsequently designated Jerusalem to be its capital, that designation was regarded by some countries as a breach of international law and not accepted by them. This includes international state organisations, all of whom continue to regard Tel Aviv as the de jure Israeli capital. However, many countries held their embassies in Jerusalem up until early 1980s, when the Knesset passed the basic law "Jerusalem - Capital of Israel" which defines Jerusalem as the indivisible capital of Israel. This finally led to the moving of most embassies out of Jerusalem to other Israeli cities (among them Tel-Aviv). This act was done as a protest, in co-operation with the UN resolution, and does not imply change in recognition of Israel's capital. The Congress of the United States recognized Jerusalem as the Israeli capital, but the president was given permission to prevent the moving of the US embassy from Tel Aviv. 1
The name "Tel Aviv" in Hebrew means hill of spring, the title given to the Hebrew translation of Theodor Herzl's book Altneuland or Oldnewland; the name "Tel Aviv" was borrowed by the translator, Nahum Sokolov, from the Book of Ezekiel.
The larger metropolitan area comprises a number of separate municipalities with around 1.1 million people living in the 14 km sprawl along the Mediterranean coast and around 365,000 in Tel Aviv-Yafo itself, making it the second largest city in Israel. Bat Yam, Holon, Ramat Gan, Givatayim, Bnei-Brak, Petah Tikva, Rishon LeZion, Ramat Ha-Sharon and Herzliya are the other major cities in the area known as Gush Dan2.
The settlement in the area of modern Southern Tel Aviv (neighbourhoods of Neve-Shalom and Neve-Tsedek) was started in the 1880s as a substitute for the rather expensive Arab neighbourhoods of Jaffa. However the city of Tel Aviv itself was established only in 1909 as Ahuzat Bayit and was later renamed to Tel Aviv. At its founding, Tel Aviv was intended only to be a suburb, a bedroom community, with the workers commuting to Jaffa. However, a dispute broke out between the Jews of Tel Aviv and the Arabs of Jaffa in 1921 or thereabouts, and this led the denizens of Tel Aviv to create a new central business district. Owing to its proximity to the port of Jaffa, and its status as the first Jewish community that immigrants saw when coming into the country, Tel Aviv quickly grew to become the centre of Israeli urban life, and it remained so until today. In 1950 Tel Aviv and Jaffa were united in a single municipality - Tel Aviv-Yafo.
Tel Aviv University (TAU), the largest university in Israel, is located in north Tel Aviv (in a quarter called Ramat-Aviv). TAU has a very high reputation in the world, mainly in Physics, computer technology, and Chemistry.
There are many culture centres in Tel Aviv, including the Opera House and the "Culture Hall" (with a 3,000 seat concert hall). Tel Aviv also has many theatre companies and theatre halls, the HaBima is the best known.
Tel Aviv has many museums and art galleries. The Eretz Israel Museum is a known museum for archeology and history. The major art museum in Israel is the Tel Aviv Arts Museum. "Batey Ha-Osef" Museum is a museum for the military history of the Israeli Defence Forces and regarded by many experts and arms collectors as real pearl - containing rare exhibits and authentic pieces from Israel's history as well as a wide variety of firearms and pictures. The Palmach Museum near Tel Aviv University offers a multimedia experience of the Palmach culture as well as vast archieves. Near Charles Clore's garden in north Jaffa there is a small museum for the Etzel, who conqured Jaffa in the 1948 Arab-Israeli war.
In July 2003, Tel Aviv's White City was announced unanimously by the UNESCO council as a World Heritage Site, due to its massive assemblage of the Bauhaus International Style buildings, the city's most precious architectural style.
Tel-Aviv holds some of the top sports teams in Israel, and in one case even in the world:
The Maccabi Tel-Aviv Sports Club was founded in 1906 and houses over 10 sport branches, such as a Basketball club (43 times Israeli champion, 33 times Israeli cup holder and 4 times European Champions cup holder), a Soccer club (18 times Israeli champion, 21 times Israeli cup holder, twice Israeli Toto cup holder and twice Asia cup holder), and a Judo club (Ya'el Arad of Maccabi Tel-Aviv won a silver medal in the 1992 Olympic Games).
Hapoel Tel-Aviv's Basketball club (5 Israeli championships, 4 Israeli cups) and Soccer club (13 Israeli championships, 10 Israeli cups, one Toto cup and once Asia champion) have always been amongst the top Israeli clubs.
Bnei-Yehuda Tel-Aviv's Soccer Club (Once Israeli champion, twice Israeli cup holder and twice Israeli Toto cup holder) is the only Israeli Soccer team on the highest Israeli soccer league (Ligat Ha-Al) that represent only a neighbourhood - Schunat Hatikva (The Hope Neighborhood) in Tel-Aviv - and not an entire city.
The main access route of Tel-Aviv is the Ayalon Highway, which goes through the city - north to south - on the Ayalon river route, which had been ordered between the 2 lanes.
Tel-Aviv also holds the largest central bus station in the world, which is located in the south. The main bus network in Tel Aviv belongs to Dan Cooperative. The Israeli Egged Bus Cooperative, the world's second-largest bus company, also has a bus network in the city.
Tel-Aviv's airport is Sde Dov (code: SDV), located at the north of the city and serves as a major airport for domestic flights.
Lists and tables
Mayors of Tel Aviv
- Meir Dizengoff (1921–1925)
- David Bloch (1925–1927)
- Meir Dizengoff (1928–1936)
- Israel Rokach (1936–1952)
- Chaim Levanon (1953–1959)
- Mordechai Namir (1959–1969)
- Yehoshua Rabinowitz (1969–1974)
- Shlomo Lahat (1974–1993)
- Ronnie Milo (1993–1998)
- Ron Huldai (1998–)
1 Jerusalem is fully accepted as Israel's capital by three countries, the United States of America, Costa Rica and El Salvador. Many other countries recognize Israel's right to decide its capital, but are not fully accepting any designation until further Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. However, these countries do not recognize Tel-Aviv or any other city as Israel's capital instead.
2 Ramat Ha-Sharon and Herzliya, though neighbouring Tel Aviv, are not considered part of Gush Dan, but rather of an area named Sharon
- Tel Aviv official website (English) (Hebrew)
- Interactive detailed city map (Hebrew)
- Tel Aviv University
- TimeOut Tel Aviv (Hebrew)
- Sde Dov